Farmington seeks input on Civic Center plans

Meetings later this summer will address plans for Brookside Pool

Brett Berntsen
City of Farmington officials will hold two meetings next week to solicit public input on renovations planned for the Civic Center, pictured on Friday.

FARMINGTON — City officials are seeking public input this summer on renovations planned at two facilities.

Next week, staff will hold meetings at the Farmington Civic Center to present plans for the building's expansion. One meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, and the other will be 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Both will take place at the Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St.

Designs for the Civic Center include adding an outdoor event area, making improvements to the theater and expanding meeting spaces, said the center's supervisor, Lisa Hutchens.

“We’d like to know what people think,” Hutchens said.

She said the current building has aging infrastructure and lacks space. She said the center often has to turn away business because all of its rooms are booked.

Renovations are expected to cost between $8 million and $10 million, said Cory Styron, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department. Funding will come from a fee recently imposed on hotel room sales. He said that fee raised about $800,000 in its first year of existence.

Discussion sessions are also being scheduled to consider building a water park to replace Brookside Pool. Dates have not yet been announced for those meetings.

Mike Duke, aquatics manager for the city of Farmington’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department, talks on April 26 about issues at Brookside Pool in Farmington.

The aging pool was closed this summer because it needed costly repairs to continue operations. Styron said the city is considering several options in the future, ranging from a low-cost replication of the old facility to constructing a new multi-million dollar water park.

Styron said the city will seek public input later this summer on how to proceed.

The renovations come at a time when many governmental agencies are struggling financially. City officials, however, have stressed the importance of continuing to provide and improve services, even in economic downturns.

Speaking at public budget meeting in May, City Manager Rob Mayes said recessions are often when the public relies most on local government.

“When we talk about building a new water park, that’s what you need to consider,” Mayes said.

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606.